The savage nature of top-level boxing lends itself to a certain level of theatrics. Professional boxing is, after all, pure entertainment packaged in the form of sport. Champions like ‘Marvellous’ Marvin Hagler
, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson
and Floyd ‘Pretty Boy’ Mayweather
are probably best remembered for their nicknames rather than their career records.
Catchy names aren’t limited to individual fighters. In the 1970’s a team of amateur boxers from Kenya were known around the world as the ‘Hit Squad’
. These talented combatants were the All Africa, Commonwealth and East and Central African champions. They were, for all intents and purposes, trained assassins who knew how to fight!
The golden era of Kenyan boxing may have come and gone but there are plenty of fighters who have nicknames that clearly spell out their trade. Here are 4 nicknames that speak volumes about the man and his fighting style:
Mike ‘The Body Snatcher’ McCallum
Aggressive, pugnacious and hard-hitting, Jamaican boxer Mike McCallum earned his nickname for his savage body blows. Along with his mean streak the legendary three-weight champion had the kind of technical nous that made him hard to beat.
Over a professional career that spanned more than 15 years ‘The Bodysnatcher’ recorded 49 wins out of 55 fights, 36 by knock out. What made the International Boxing Hall of Famer such a tough proposition was his ability to weather blows to the chin and remain on his feet, notwithstanding what was thrown at him.
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In fact, the WBA Welterweight, WBA Middleweight and WBC Light Heavyweight Champion never once hit the canvas in his five recorded losses.
Nigel ‘The Dark Destroyer’ Benn
British boxer Nigel Benn was feared for his ferocious punching power and high velocity fighting style. The son of Barbadian immigrants, Benn was a street fighter that knew how to destroy his opponents… hence the moniker “The Dark Destroyer’.
The former solider in the Royal Fusiliers racked up a career record of 42 wins in 48 fights, 35 by KO. He was crowned World Champion in two weight classes - WBO Middleweight and WBC Super-Middleweight – and is currently ranked the fourth best British super-middleweight boxer of all-time.
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Aside from his ferocity, fancy footwork and aggression Benn was a master of the hook, jab and uppercut. Over a colourful career ‘The Dark Destroyer’ tamed some of the biggest names of the era including ‘Sugar Boy’ Malinga, Abdul Umaru and Gerald ‘G-Man’ McClennan.
Evander ‘The Real Deal’ Holyfield
Named ‘The Real Deal’ after beating luminaries like George Foreman, Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson in the ring, Evander Holyfield is the only boxer in history to become the undisputed champion in two weight classes - cruiserweight and heavyweight.
The burly American once said he relied on his ‘warrior instinct’ to win bouts but is best remembered for fighting his opponents with intelligence and contained aggression.
A renowned infighter and fierce counter puncher, Holyfield is the first and only four-time World Heavyweight Champion. He boasts an Olympic Gold medal in the light heavyweight division and a career record of 44 wins in 57 fights, 29 by knock out.
James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith
Former WBA Heavyweight Champion, James Smith was the KO King. He won his title in a first round knockout, a feat which, along with hard hitting punching power and fierce demeanour in the ring, earned him the nickname ‘Bonecrusher’.
Smith’s hapless victims included premier fighters like Frank Bruno, Tim Witherspoon, Jesse Ferguson and Mike Weaver. At the end of his career James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith had won 44 bouts out of 62, 32 of which were by knock out!
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